The Trade Desk goes to print with ‘worst’ ads in national newspapers

The Trade Desk print ads go against the company's tech bent

Digital companies are not above using traditional print media to get their points across, as Facebook recently did following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. A new campaign by the Trade Desk follows suit, but its apologies are self-deprecating in print.

The adtech company worked with creative agency VSA Partners to bring its modern technologies to the oldest form of media to tout new narratives. Rather than the tired ‘this ad here’ concept, the new campaign includes three print ads with large, sarcastic headlines in bold white font: 'Possibly the Worst Ad We'll Ever Run,' 'Buying This Ad Was Excruciating,' and 'This Pretty Much Goes Against Everything We Believe.'

The ads present a set of messages for readers – ads don’t have to be the loudest in the room in order to be the most effective, and that the power of programmatic and data-driven buying allows brands and marketers to work smarter.

Copy below the headers includes, “When it comes to your ad dollars, there’s working harder and there’s working smarter. For a more targeted, data-driven approach, we’re here for you. The next wave of digital advertising is here.

The ads are slated to run in The New York Times, both in the US and internationally, The Mercury News and The Wall Street Journal.

Susan Vobejda, chief marketing officer of The Trade Desk, said of the newspaper ads: “When I first saw this, I asked the team ‘How soon can we run this?’ We loved the clever use of a traditional platform like newsprint to showcase the value of digital media. This campaign captures the foundational shift of modern marketing from mass media to data-driven, customer targeted digital channels. The Trade Desk is at the center of enabling this shift.

The company earlier this year launched a set of 'next wave' adtech tools with AI to better help advertisers improve efficiencies of their online media buys.

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